Pretense is firstly “an allegation of doubtful value” (MW). I’m a huge fan of Orhan Pamuk- there’s a guy who is very interested in pretense, and the eternal quest to find out who he really is, not who one thinks is or would like to be. He says we go to the movies and own a lot of useless stuff to gain a few moments (or hours, or a lifetime) of respite from our “selves”, diversions to avoid thinking about who we really are. It’s a primary theme in his books- it may be THE main challenge for any artist.
Pamuk is from Istanbul, and his stories are laced with pashas and sultans, high rankers in the Ottoman Empire. They are forever disguising themselves and escaping the palace and trappings, eager for some honest interaction and a break from being the living projection of their subjects. They wear a costume and play a role as a commoner, to find out who they really are, and then return to the palace to resume their full-time gig, acting the royal role. Read more